w/ Chris Stevenson, The Rideau View Golf Insider
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Sometimes it’s easy to forget Brooke Henderson is just 19 years old and barely into her third year as a pro.
For all she’s accomplished so far – three wins, including a major on the LPGA Tour – she’s still gathering experience and adding shots to her repertoire.
As she goes along here, she and sister Brittany, who’s on the bag, grow their depth of knowledge about the courses on the LPGA Tour and how they react in different situations. That’s why it was important for them to make the cut on the weekend at the ANA Inspiration.
It meant another 36 holes on the Mission Hills Country Club course which hosts the ANA Inspiration every spring and the chance to learn more about the course in different conditions. Pin positions, rough, where to miss, they have all been duly noted and filed away.
Team Henderson – dad Dave, who’s her coach, and sister Brittany, who’s on the bag – had a good weekend. After making the cut on the number, Brooke put together rounds of 69 and 68 to move past 50 players and into a tie for 14th. Seven under on the weekend at a major in increasingly more difficult conditions as the course got firmer and faster will be great for Henderson’s confidence.
A New Shot
It was interesting to see a new shot Henderson has added to her inventory, too. She’s been chipping with her 22 degree hybrid. She did it at least a couple of times on the weekend including on the 18th hole on Sunday. After going over the green in two, she used her hybrid to hit a chip that looked like it had a chance to go in for eagle and left her a short putt for birdie and 4-under 68.
“Early this year when I was down in Florida practising, my dad wanted to help me get a better shot for around the greens that I was a little bit more comfortable with and that wouldn’t check into the green, kind of run smoothly like a putt,” said Henderson. “It needed a little bit more speed to get through the fringe than a putter and there’s a hotter face with the hybrid.
“I practised it a lot. I really like it. I’m a lot better with it than chipping. Last year at the KPMG when I made that long putt from off the green with my putter off my back foot, it’s kind of a similar thing. It just hops over the first few inches and then starts rolling. This way, I’m able to have a little calmer stroke. I’ve gotten used to it and it’s come in handy a lot.”
After a week off (well, it started with a photo shoot for Skechers golf shoes), during which she plans to watch The Masters, Team Henderson will be back at in Hawaii next week at the LOTTE Championship presented by Hershey (which has a Saturday finish).
Follow Chris Stevenson on Twitter @CJ_Stevenson for more of his insight.